The NHS has signed a new national agreement that will allow prisoners to virtually connect with doctors at their local hospital
The video collaboration platform will be provided by health tech company Visionable and will allow prisoners to securely speak to consultants remotely under the supervision of the prison’s own medical team.
Consultants are also able to use the system to show important information and diagnostic images such as x-rays and CT scans, reducing the cost of a physical visit to hospital.
The system has already been used to transform how patients and doctors interact in the NHS, and has seen a sharp rise in use during the coronavirus pandemic.
A client version of the Visionable system was initially rolled out to a prison in March and due to its success, is now in the process of being rapidly deployed to 114 prisons and young offender institutions, 15 secure children’s homes, and five immigration removal centres. In the longer term, it could also be used to connect patients to other services for mental health and more.
Laptops can only be activated with a remote key held by the prison’s own healthcare team and have been configured so that it cannot be used for any other communication purpose in the event of a laptop being stolen.
Alan Lowe, Visionable chief executive, said: “Virtual ways of working in healthcare have quickly become more urgent since COVID-19. But they are also a key means for transforming how people interact with their healthcare professionals in the longer term. This particular project, envisioned before the coronavirus pandemic, is an important expansion of how the NHS has been using remote video technology to transform pathways, and will result in significant efficiency and security gains for organisations involved.
“But it also demonstrates how clinicians can be brought to the individual, regardless of their location. If used in the right way, remote technologies provide significant opportunities to bring services to individuals in a more convenient way and in ways that can improve access and equity in healthcare.”
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